To Trust a Stranger

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Karen Robards once again electrifes the page with hardwired passion and thrilling suspense in this heart-pounding novel.

Suspicion. It burned through every nerve and fiber of Julie Carlson—the heartbreaking, infuriating suspicion that her husband was having an affair. To the rest of the world, Sid Carlson was a wealthy contractor with friends in highly influential places. But to Julie, he was a man who had cheated on their marriage vow—and she knew she had to take desperate measures. Who can she trust? Heartbroken by her husband, Julie turns to a handsome stranger.

Mac McQuarry knew better than to mix women and work: the private detective had tracked enough cheating spouses to know unbridled desire usually has no good end. And he had enough trouble of his own: the disgraced former cop had been bumped way down to his current status after an explosive shakedown of the Charleston police department. But when Julie Carlson hires him, Mac can't resist. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, but her husband, a longtime enemy, was a player in Mac's inglorious downfall—and he'd love nothing more than to catch the corrupt jerk with his pants down, so to speak.

But what begins as a run-of-the-mill assignment spiced by a fiery flirtation with beautiful Julie suddenly spirals into a harrowing race for survival. Tracking the Carlsons' car down a lonely road one night, Mac witnesses an incredible hit that targeted Julie—and suddenly Mac and Julie have become the hunted. With the mob and the police in hot pursuit, they can rely only on each other as they crash their way through a maze of buried secrets and deadly deceptions.
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The rolling fields of Shelby County are home to some of the finest horseflesh and bluest blood in Kentucky. With its rural beauty and tranquil lifestyle, it is easy to see why the locals call it Paradise County. But beneath the serene exterior lies a dark underside, and an evil that threatens everyone who touches it.
Alexandra Haywood and her younger sister, Neely, have always loved Whistledown, the family's magnificent Shelby County horse farm. After their billionaire father's sudden and tragic death, the devastated Alex returns to Whistledown to try to make peace with her memories -- and to oversee the selling of their gorgeous home. For the family fortune is now a shambles and, like almost everything else the Haywoods own, Whistledown has to go. But Joe Welch, the sexy, handsome farm manager, refuses to cooperate. When Alex fires him, he tells her he has an unbreakable contract and can't be let go.
For years Joe has worked to make Whistledown's stables flourish while he struggled to keep his own dreams alive, and no rich rhymes-with-witch is going to threaten his livelihood -- or his family life. Ever since his wife betrayed him years ago, Joe has raised his three kids alone and did it damn well. Now, his always dependable sixteen-year-old son Eli has become hopelessly infatuated with teenage wild child Neely. Joe refuses to let his boy get caught up with Neely -- a nose stud and penchant for illegal substances among her less desirable traits -- and he tells Alex in no uncertain terms.
Sparks of rage give way to a fiery attraction when Joe and Alex meet head-on. But just as a volatile passion begins flaring between them, the discovery of a shocking murder with ties to the past rocks the county -- and cuts frighteningly close to home when Neely and Eli disappear.
Alex and Joe have only each other to rely on as they search frantically for their loved ones. What they don't know is that they are racing against time, too. Because the evil that lurks beneath the bucolic surface of Paradise County has once again raised its gruesome head -- and now Alex is targeted as the next victim.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Feb 5, 2002
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780743424561
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
Fiction / Romance / Contemporary
Fiction / Romance / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the sizzling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards, Dr. Charlie Stone must prove the innocence of a dangerously sexy condemned man, or lose her one chance at true love.
 
THE LAST TIME I SAW HER
 
In this world, Dr. Charlotte “Charlie” Stone skillfully probes the twisted minds of incarcerated serial killers to better understand what makes them tick, and to help nab those who remain at large. But in the next world, Charlotte’s ghostly lover—convicted killer Michael Garland—is facing death yet again. It seem the only way Charlie can snatch Michael from the jaws of oblivion is by proving his innocence. And this dead man’s dead ringer may just be the key.
 
A mysterious stranger has turned up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and Charlie is shocked to realize he could be Michael Garland’s identical twin. But she suspects the resemblance is only skin deep—and that behind the handsome face may lurk the perverse mind of a killer. While using all her keen profiling gifts, Charlie risks her life to discover the shocking secret that will clear Michael’s name.
 
Then a breakout at Wallens Ridge State Prison forces Charlie to contend with a sudden swarm of psychopaths bent on spilling blood. No one has a better chance of tracking down the deadly fugitives than Charlie—unless the rampaging killers manage to find her first and make this case her last. But Michael will move heaven and hell—and even make a devil’s bargain—for the chance to save Charlie’s life, and feel her touch once more . . . if only for the final time.

Praise for The Last Time I Saw Her
 
“The always talented Robards brings her uniquely compelling ghostly romantic suspense series to a truly magnificent close. The evolution of the strange but utterly riveting romance between Dr. Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Stone and deceased convicted killer Michael Garland has been transfixing to read. . . . This has been one amazing ride.”—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)
 
Praise for Karen Robards
 
“One of the most popular voices in women’s fiction.”—Newsweek
 
“Draw a line between two extremely popular genres, mysteries and romance novels, and in the middle you will find the bestselling Robards. She merges the two worlds like no one else, deftly interlacing plot and passion.”—Albany Times Union
 
Praise for The Last Victim
 
“Excellent . . . This story is going to haunt you.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
The Last Kiss Goodbye
 
“This suspense tale will truly have you on the edge of your seat.”—RT Book Reviews
 
Her Last Whisper
 
“An absolute winner . . . explodes with both passion and mystery . . . providing both thrills and chills.”—Bookreporter


From the Hardcover edition.
From New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards comes a thrilling new novel of suspense and steamy seaside sensuality set in North Carolina's Outer Banks, where a serial killer combs the beaches filled with beautiful female tourists for his next victim.
Christy Petrino hadn't planned on a vacation on Ocracoke Island, but when she learns her fiancé and boss, suave Michael DePalma, is a "made man" and the Philadelphia law firm where she works is a front for the mob, she breaks her engagement and quits her job. But no one walks away from the DePalma family business so easily....Only if she delivers a locked briefcase to a motel on Ocracoke Island will she -- and her mother and sisters -- be free.
But after clandestinely making her drop-off late at night, Christy suspects she is being followed on the moonlit beach -- and unwittingly runs into a new kind of terror. Now a witness at the center of a homicide investigation, Christy learns the police are hunting a serial killer they refer to as the "Beachcomber" because beautiful young women -- women who in fact resemble her -- have disappeared recently while vacationing at nearby beach communities. Christy doesn't know whom to fear more -- a serial killer who believes she might be able to identify him, or the DePalma family, whose tentacles she can't seem to escape.
Only when she's with Luke Rand, her big surfer-dude next-door neighbor, does she feel safe. But with Luke's asking so many questions about her ex-fiancé and his showing up almost too conveniently whenever danger strikes, she can't help but wonder if his interest in her is due to more than sexual attraction. Can she trust this handsome stranger to help her survive a hot and deadly summer?
Karen Robards creates a tour de force of passion and suspense in this scintillating page-turner, the quintessential summertime read.
Editorial Reviews

"Sorry Christian and Gideon, there’s a new heartthrob for you to contend with. Meet Talon. Talon Steel." -Booktopia 

"Possession brings Talon Steel's story to a conclusion, wrapping up a thrilling mystery intertwined with some amazingly hot sex scenes... the buildup to the protagonists discovery keeps the pages moving at a rapid-fire pace. " -RT Book Reviews

"I'm dead from the strongest book hangover ever. Helen exceeded every expectation I had for this book. It was heart pounding, heartbreaking, intense, full throttle genius. " -Tina at Bookalicious Babes Blog

"WOAH. Helen Hardt has truly blown me away with this series. It is dark, emotional, intense, horrifying, and utterly beautiful all mixed together. " -Pretty Little Book Reviews

"Such a beautiful torment - the waiting, the anticipation, the relief that only comes briefly before more questions arise, and the wait begins again... Check. Mate. Ms. Hardt..." -Bare Naked Words

"The love scenes are beautifully written and so scorching hot I’m fanning my face just thinking about them." -The Book Sirens

Synopsis

Jade Roberts’s love for Talon Steel is the real deal, and she’s more determined than ever to help him come to grips with whatever is haunting him. To that end, she continues her investigation of the Steels…and unknowingly attracts some dangerous foes from their shrouded history.

Talon loves Jade deeply and longs to possess her forever, so he faces his worst fears and exposes his rawest wounds in an attempt to heal. The road is icy and treacherous, but if he perseveres and comes out whole on the other side, he’ll finally be worthy of Jade’s love.

The untamed passion between the two still blazes, but as the horrors of Talon’s past resurface, Jade and Talon aren’t safe…


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